June 22, 2016

LP: Outer Spaces - A Shedding Snake

Baltimore's Outer Spaces master the blues on their debut full-length album.

Baltimore-based trio Outer Spaces create music with introspective reminiscences that are clear-eyed and emotional. The band’s full-length debut off Don Giovanni Records, A Shedding Snake, captures confessional feelings with a rugged sweetness and tender delicacy. On “Mint On The Sill,” vocalist Cara Satalino chronicles her personal romantic ups-and-downs with the uncertainties that haunt her. She belts with a sense of catharsis, “Do you love me? / Do you really love me? / As I love you.” It’s these free-floating desires and unanswered questions that give Satalino's songs their haunting power. Her voice rises as tender drum strokes and distorted guitars drip over the ambiguity of romance.

Satalino reflects on inner desires and confusions so comfortably that it’s as if blues music were her second skin. The reverb-drenched “Words” is like taking a dive head first into a swimming pool. Satalino’s voice is brittle and brave, lilting on lines like, “Took my insides out / Left them all around the house.” Her lyrics are trenchant and imaginative while reflecting on a wistful romance. Satalino hides out in her mind, her lyrics working out the values and meaning of things and people. Kick drum accents the beginning of “I Was Divided,” as open-hearted declarations feel like expertly placed exclamation points. She sings with a cool grace, “I was divided and I did defy / I stuck a needle in a wandering eye / The future is brighter than stars in the sky.” The echoing percussion and shimmering chords cloak the song with an ill-fitted grandeur. A Shedding Snake is an album to be played on a sunlit road trip as you sip from your blue slurpee and hang your feet out the window. It will bring a sense of beauty to this sultry season even when the scrappy parts of life are more visible and less romantic.

Listen to Outer Spaces on bandcamp

Abbie Jones, who will sing along to every Liz Phair song at karaoke by heart and is always down to get milkshakes past midnight. When she isn't writing about music, she is playing drums in her band or hosting shows in her backyard.